Garamendi Meets with Farmers, Manufacturers, Graduate Students, Affordable Housing Administrators, Job Skills Specialists During Busy Week in District
DAVIS, CA – During the district work period this week, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) engaged in a whirlwind tour across the 3rd Congressional District, meeting with farmers, manufacturers, graduate students, researchers, residents and administrators of an affordable housing facility, and representatives from an organization that helps disabled people develop more employable job skills.
PRIDE Industries Tour in Yuba City
Congressman Garamendi toured PRIDE Industries in Yuba City on Wednesday, meeting with trainers, administrators, and enrollees in the program. PRIDE Industries is one of the nation's largest nonprofit employers of people with disabilities, providing a workforce for many corporations and government entities, including Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield. They also recently received a grant from the federal government to hire 12 veterans – a priority of the Congressman’s.
“Disabled Americans have a lot to contribute to this country. For those of us working without disabilities, it is easy to forget how much pride and dignity can be had from gainful employment,” said Congressman Garamendi. “PRIDE Industries is doing amazing work in Yuba City and throughout Northern California, helping disabled Californians support their families, and bringing more meaning and accomplishment to these hardworking and motivated people.”
Mahal Plaza Tour in Yuba City
Visiting the Mahal Plaza in Yuba City, a facility that offers affordable housing for 460 residents in 98 units, most of whom are farm workers, Congressman Garamendi was struck by the many services available. Not only do they offer housing to people in need, they also offer Head Start education for children and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses, principally for Punjabi and Spanish speakers. Mahal Plaza is privately run but receives public funding. Rent is offered on a sliding scale based on ability to pay. 90 percent of government support for the Plaza comes from the federal government.
“This is an example of the government working well to help the least fortunate in our society,” Congressman Garamendi said. “The people here are working in some of the most backbreaking jobs imaginable, but they need a little help to support their families. The affordable housing, ESL, and Head Start programs here are a reminder that when we slash social services on the federal level without careful consideration of the consequences, efficient and effective programs are undermined and real people are harmed.”
TenCate Tour and Town Hall in Fairfield
On Thursday, Congressman Garamendi visited TenCate’s manufacturing facility in Fairfield. TenCate is a leading producer of composites, protective fabrics, and parts for a variety of advanced industries, including aerospace, airplanes, and satellites. They employ about 90 people in Fairfield, expect to expand to 105 people there by next year, and have enough space to grow in the facility for the next 20 years. After touring their manufacturing floor and learning more about their manufacturing processes, Garamendi held a town hall with employees at the facility.
“Staying competitive is about fulfilling the needs of the future,” Congressman Garamendi told the town hall attendees. “Trying to stay on the front end of manufacturing and research and trying to the stay on the outer edge of advanced technologies: that’s what you’re doing here and that’s my top priority as I shape policy in Congress. Staying ahead of the curve is what will bring manufacturing jobs back to America.”
At the town hall, Garamendi reiterated his support for Make It In America policies, including his support for the reauthorization of capital expensing to help American manufacturers buy large and expensive equipment that will make them more competitive and the production tax credit to help grow the American wind industry. This 2012 testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee goes into more detail on these policies.
Recology Tour of Methane Gas Facility in Vacaville/Dixon
Congressman Garamendi and Dixon Mayor Jack Batchelor met with Recology administrators and engineers at their refuse facility on the Vacaville/Dixon border on Thursday, learning about some of their expansion plans and strategies to become more green. Recology is a leading composting, recycling, and landfill management company, but the focus of this meeting was to learn more about their new methane energy facility managed by G2 Energy. The facility converts methane naturally discharged at the facility into the equivalent of about a million gallons of diesel gas every year. They eventually have plans to fuel their trucks with energy produced onsite.
“Climate change is already irreversibly changing our world and our economy, threatening our food supply, contributing to higher energy costs, and causing more extreme weather. In projects large and small, we must work to transition away from coal and oil,” Congressman Garamendi said. “Trash is inevitable and so are methane discharges from trash. Converting trash to usable energy? That’s innovation! Recology and G2 have partnered to do a great thing in this project, and I look forward to seeing their efforts expanded in the years to come. They have my support as we build a greener cleaner economy and create jobs.”
Meeting with UC Davis Graduate Students and Researchers
Emerging Leaders in Policy & Public Service (ELIPPS), a multidisciplinary graduate student organization focused on public service, held their first meeting on Thursday and invited Congressman Garamendi to speak. He talked about his service in the Peace Corps, how he got involved in public policy, and offered his guidance to graduate students interested in service. He especially encouraged the science graduate students in the room to spread widely what they know to be true in a format that is understandable to the broader country and encouraged law students to fight for civil rights and voting rights.
“You will be the intellectual foundation for what happens in the years to come,” Congressman Garamendi said. “I’m not going to let you off the hook. My grandchildren depend on the bright minds in this room to rise above the noise, identify the big problems in our society, and solve them. Our future rests on your shoulders.”
After the meeting, he attended a two-hour briefing with scientific researchers at a number of institutes and departments on campus to learn more about their research and how their research has been harmed by budget cuts, and to develop strategies to bridge the gap between what scientists know and what policymakers and business leaders need to know.
One researcher noted the importance of identifying ways climate change and pollution are directly harming the intended audience and cited an example of speaking before a group of wealthy business leaders, many of whom were climate change deniers, who suddenly became alarmed when they learned that California’s oyster population is threatened by rising carbon dioxide levels in our oceans.
“Congress needs more people willing to keep an open mind, listen to new evidence, and shape policies based on facts and not ideology,” Congressman Garamendi said. “This was a very important talk for me, and I feel blessed to have one the world’s greatest research universities in my district.”
Meeting with Glenn County Farm Bureau
Congressman Garamendi closed his Thursday work schedule by speaking before the Glenn County Farm Bureau. He focused his remarks on strategies to ensure the Farm Bill is enacted to law and stressed the importance of rebuilding the decades-long coalition between food producers and advocates for nutrition assistance for lower-income Americans. He took a number of questions from the audience and met with many farmers individually during the evening to hear their specific concerns. As a Member of the House Agricultural Committee and as a cattle rancher, pear farmer, and small business owner, Garamendi strives to develop an expertise on the needs of the 3rd District’s farming community.
“This district feeds the country and feeds the world. As Glenn County’s representative in Congress, I need to know what’s on the minds of food producers here,” Congressman Garamendi said. “This was a very productive and helpful meeting, and I will take this knowledge back with me to Washington as I work to pass a Farm Bill that works for California.”
Additional Meetings in the District
Throughout the week, Garamendi held a series of meetings in the district. He met with people concerned about the health of the Yuba River, learned more about the status of public health services in Sutter County, listened to the concerns of walnut growers and dairy farmers in the district, heard from a community group worried about groundwater safety, heard from postdoc students about what they prioritize in comprehensive immigration reform, worked on legislation to prevent a quagga mussel infestation in Clear Lake, and worked on outreach for his Job Fair scheduled for December 6th in Fairfield.
“This job is about being a representative for the entire region and the many diverse groups that call the 3rd District home,” Garamendi said. “As I tell anyone who will listen: don’t assume I know what you think I need to know. Reach out to my office; tell my staff your concerns; and let us know what you think we should be doing. To be the best representative possible requires the most complete knowledge possible.”